Jordan Hoffart: Turning Pro, Puking, and TV Magic

By Paul Zitzer – This interview could very easily never have happened. Because truth be told, Jordan Hoffart should probably be dead. If you’ve seen his most recent video part in Fun, Powell’s latest release, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The kid’s a beast, risking it all on the daily to lay down cutting edge skate mayhem. I’ve seen him literally bounce off the cement…just to warm up. Of course with a new Hoffart model just hitting stores, he’s obligated, I guess. And at 24, pro status didn’t come a moment too soon, allowing him to avoid the man-am’s unfortunate future in skate career purgatory.

But in addition to being a pro skateboarder, Jordan is also a movie star. Well, maybe star is too strong a word. Let’s just say he’s been in a movie or two. His big hit was Zolar. Some online research revealed that, and I quote, “This movie sucks.” Haters. Regardless, he’s been around the production end of things in the past, so last month in Portland when the Dew wanted to recruit an expert to help with work on the park show, and better capture the near-chaos of a six-man jam format on live TV, Jordan was the obvious choice. In the interview that follows he offers a little insight about the experience, and TV’s odd fascination with puking.

So, is this your first year on the Dew Tour?

What prompted you to enter?
I kind of always wanted to enter, basically I consider myself a grown ass man now (laughing), and I was entering all these am contests and it just wasn’t fun. I wasn’t skating with anyone my own age and the way I skate, I kept colliding with people, like little kids, and I was so sick of having their parents yelling at me you know (laughing). So I was like, “I just want to skate with some people my own age.” And I finally turned pro in April, so I was like, “Sweet, now I can enter these things.” And it’s so refreshing. I haven’t had this much fun at contests ever.

What place did you finish at the first two stops?
In Boston I broke my board in the prelims or something and I don’t even know what place I finished, but then I won the best trick contest so they gave me a wildcard for Portland, and in the semi finals I came in 11th, one out of the finals.

Who approached you about doing production work?
Chris Ortiz. He basically said they needed a skateboarder that could tell the good tricks apart from the mediocre ones, so when they did the replays they’d play the best stuff.

Did they give you any preparation before the contest?
Yeah, well, it was pretty brief. They just walked us into the truck and broke down what exactly we were going to do, and that was it. Then we came back when it was time and just handled it.

Describe the truck.
Okay, well, it’s like a big media center condensed into a semi truck trailer. It kind of like feels like you’re a spy, or intelligence, like you’re on some sort of a mission. It’s pretty crazy. But there were like nine TV screens, like little monitors, that I’d be watching. I’d had to watch all of them. And then each editor in the truck was assigned to one or two cameras. So as soon as I’d yell out like, “Paul Rodriguez switch front feeble camera 6 just now!” They’d rewind on their little box, cut it, save it, then put it on the list. Then they’d cut in the titling and then bam, 20 seconds later they’d have the replays ready to go, like “Presented by Matador! Extreme replays!” I was just like, “Wow, that’s the fastest editing I’ve ever seen go down.”

Was it stressful at all?
I kind of kept it light. I wasn’t really sure how much they expected me to do, so I just kind of just did it, and I was open to any direction they wanted to give me but, I guess I did a good job because they didn’t say anything and then at the end of it they were stoked. So…I was just being a skateboarder.

Were you wearing a headset?
They offered it but I didn’t wear it, because I was like, yelling, and then there were a bunch of people talking all at once and I couldn’t focus. I got all ADD.

Did you have any real criteria as far as what tricks to choose, or was it obvious?
I kind of looked at it from the perspective of what tricks I thought were really hard. But at the same time I have to remember that the general public doesn’t know too much, they kind of want to see the flashier ones. So I’d say the ones where there was a lot of body varialing and a lot of flipping. I judged it by what I thought the viewer would be more enticed by.

Yeah, the more that’s happening the better.
You know what I was tripping out on? After Decenzo did his run and he started puking, everyone in the truck went ape shit. They were like, “All cameras on Ryan! Get a good shot of the puking!” They love seeing drama, because that makes for good TV too you know?

Did they ask you if you wanted to do it again in the off chance that you weren’t in another final?
Yeah, the guy Chris actually said, “God forbid that you don’t make it to the final at the next stop but…” they extended the offer.

Did you make more money skating or working production?
Well, I have yet to get paid from production, so I’m going to stick with skating for sure. I think I came out of there with a couple of grand for skating.

Did you ever watch the show on TV?
No, but we were watching it on the screen as it was happening.

Anything else you wanted to say?
I was just grateful for the opportunity because I got to see behind the scenes, up close. People go to school for that and hope to be in that situation. And to be guilty by association, just ‘cause I was there and to be able to jump on that opportunity, you can’t take that stuff for granted. You gotta appreciate everything. So I just want to give a major shout out to my Dew Tour (laughing).